Spoiler Warning: This post contains MAJOR spoilers from Game of Thrones Season 6, Episode 5, entitled “The Door” and also Madeleine L’Engle’s book A Swiftly Tilting Planet. If you do not wish to be spoiled, turn back now!
This post is the second in a series of blogs linking HBO’S Game of Thrones, in light of recent plot developments from Season 6, Episode 5 entitled “The Door”, to Madeleine L’Engle’s A Swiftly Tilting Planet. Part One can be found here.
There’s an ongoing Game of Thrones theory that “Bran is all the Brans.” That our Bran–our crippled, warging, green-seeing Brandon Stark–somehow influences all of the “Brans” in Westeros’ history by way of his special abilities. In A Swiftly Tilting Planet, another young boy, 15 year-old-but-wise-beyond-his-years Charles Wallace wargs (or “goes Within”, in L’Engle’s universe) into various historical figures (many with a variation of the name “Bran”) in order to change the future.
The Brans of Westeros
Brandon Stark – Second youngest son of Ned and Catelyn Stark. After witnessing an incestuous interaction between twins Jamie and Cersei Lannister, he is pushed out of a tower window by Jamie, causing a chain of events that forever changes Westeros and sets the whole plot of Game of Thrones in motion. Though he has increased his warging, green-seeing abilities under the tutelage of the Three Eyed Raven, we are only now realizing the extent of his power and ability to influence events in the past.
Bran Stark and the Three Eyed Raven
Brandon Stark – Ned Stark’s older brother and original betrothed to Catelyn Tully. He bested Petyr Baelish in a duel over Catelyn. He was eventually killed along with his father Rickard Stark by the Mad King Aerys II in the Iron Throne room.
Bran the Builder – Bran the Builder lived 8,000 years before the events of HBO’S Game of Thrones. He founded House Stark, built Winterfell and The Wall and was the first King of the North.
According to legend, he supposedly advised Durran on how to construct Storm’s End:
Durran would have none of it. A seventh castle he raised, most massive of all. Some said the children of the forest helped him build it, shaping the stones with magic; others claimed that a small boy told him what he must do, a boy who would grow to be Bran the Builder.
Throughout the course of Martin’s book series, there are many Brandons throughout the history of the Starks. There are so many in fact that Old Nan occasionally gets them confused, according to this passage from the novel Game of Thrones:
Thousands and thousands of years ago, Brandon the Builder had raised Winterfell, and some said the Wall. Bran knew the story, but it had never been his favorite. Maybe one of the other Brandons had liked that story. Sometimes Nan would talk to him as if he were her Brandon, the baby she had nursed all those years ago, and sometimes she confused him with his uncle Brandon, who was killed by the Mad King before Bran was even born. She had lived so long, Mother had told him once, that all the Brandon Starks had become one person in her head.
The Wall, built by Bran the Builder
Bran the Breaker – Also King of the North during the Age of Heroes. He was also known as King of Winter and a former Lord of Winterfell. He formed an alliance with the King-Beyond-the-Wall Joramun to defeat the Night’s King and Queen, freeing the Night’s Watch from their rule. Afterward, he sought to erase the Night’s King from history by never mentioning his name.
The Brans of A Swiftly Tilting Planet
Branwen “Beezie” Z. Maddox O’Keefe – Mother-in-law to Charles Wallace’s sister Meg. She gives Patrick’s rune to Charles Wallace, which he eventually uses in his time traveling adventures to influence people and change events in the past.
Brandon Llawcae -A young boy in Puritan times with the gift of the Sight, Brandon has a special kinship with his pregnant sister-in-law, Zylle, a blue-eyed descendant of the People of the Wind. When the local pastor tries to have Zylle tried and hanged as a witch, Charles Wallace “wargs” into Brandon and gives him the rune which calls down lightning from the sky and sets the church on fire. His sister-in-law Zylle tells him:
“Among my people…you would be known as a Seer, and you would be having the training prayer and trusting that would keep your gift very close to the gods, from whom the gift comes.”
Hmm, sounds a lot like greenseeing!
Queen Branwen – Young Branwen “Beezie”’s grandmother tells her and her brother Chuck the story of her namesake, Queen Branwen, an English princess who was taken across the sea by an Irish king. He thought her unfaithful so he threw her out of the palace and had her tend the swine. She uttered St. Patrick’s rune, which struck the Irish palace with fire and summoned the wind which blew the sails of her brother Bran’s ships across the sea to rescue her.
Interestingly, Branwen means “white raven” in the original Wesh (as Bran means “raven”). Tying this more to Game of Thrones lore, the Irish king gave Branwen’s brother Bran horses as dowry, but one of her half-brothers mutilated the horse out of retaliation. The Irish King almost went to war over the matter, but was eventually appeased by the gift of a cauldron that could resurrect the dead.
Bran Maddox – Twin brother to Matthew Maddox, esteemed 19th writer. His author brother was known for writing The Horn of Joy, which presciently dealt with themes of time travel and relativity before Einstein ever postulated his theory. After a war injury, Bran joined a Welsh expedition to South America. His sister Gwen eventually joins him and is caught up in a love triangle between good Rich and bad seed Gedder. Charles again influences the family via his warging/kything abilities.
So what IS it with Brans and time travel? Is your name Brandon? Do you time travel?